In the Matter of: Gene D. Emmons, Respondent.
Attorney for the Respondent Michele S. Bryant Evansville,
Attorneys for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary
Commission G. Michael Witte, Executive Director David E.
Griffith, Staff Attorney Indianapolis, Indiana
that Respondent, Gene D. Emmons, engaged in attorney
misconduct by converting guardianship funds, failing to
comply with court orders, and failing to cooperate with the
disciplinary process. For this misconduct, we conclude that
Respondent should be suspended from the practice of law in
this state for at least three years without automatic
to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 23(11) (2016), the
Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission and Respondent
have submitted for approval a "Statement of Charges and
Conditional Agreement for Discipline" stipulating agreed
facts and proposed discipline. The Respondent's 2008
admission to this state's bar subjects him to this
Court's disciplinary jurisdiction. See Ind.
Const. art. 7, § 4. The Court approves the agreement and
was appointed by the Warrick Circuit Court as guardian of an
88-year-old incapacitated woman ("Ward") living in
a nursing home. In his capacity as guardian, Respondent
became a signatory on Ward's "PTSB" and
"PNC" bank accounts. Ward's account at PTSB was
an attorney fiduciary account subject to overdraft reporting
to the Commission.
the required court authorization, Respondent wrote three
checks from the PTSB account, totaling $20, 000 and payable
to himself, indicating in the subject lines that the checks
were for legal fees. In early 2015, the court ordered
Respondent to prepare a biennial accounting of the
guardianship. Respondent failed to do so, and in March 2015
the court ordered Respondent removed as guardian. After
appointing another attorney as guardian, the court ordered
Respondent as the previous guardian to file a final
accounting, which Respondent also failed to do.
court later ordered Respondent to appear and explain his
failure to comply with the court-ordered accounting.
Respondent failed to appear on the scheduled hearing date.
the Commission began investigating Respondent's actions
and demanded a response. Respondent failed to respond,
leading to the initiation of show cause proceedings in this
Court and, eventually, an indefinite suspension for
noncooperation that remains in effect. Matter of
Emmons, 52 N.E.3d 797 (Ind. 2016). Respondent also
failed to timely comply with a subpoena duces tecum seeking
production of his guardianship file, and when he did comply,
the file he produced was incomplete.
parties agree that Respondent violated these Indiana
Professional Conduct Rules prohibiting the following
1.15(a): Failing to maintain complete records of client trust
account funds and keep them for
a period of five years after termination of the
representation. 3.4(c): Knowingly disobeying court orders.
8.1(b): Knowingly failing to respond to a lawful demand for